Today in one of my favorite blogs "my thoughts" I read a wonderful news story. I was immediately intrigued and searched for the original source. It was the Washington post. Apparently the version I am about to share with you has been circulating in e-mails, message boards and blogs, and no small wonder.
A Violinist in the Metro
A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousand of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.
Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule.
A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping continued to walk.
A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.
The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.
In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.
No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars.
Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston and the seats average $100.
This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of an social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?
One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?
Wow. That last paragraph is what will linger with me for awhile. What am I missing as I hurry through my life?
My first thought was my children. Years ago I heard a speaker, Reed Benson, say, "You could be raising your spiritual superiors. Imagine being Mary raising Jesus." I was amazed by that possibility. I had to laugh at myself later, after all who am I that my children or most people for that matter might not be my spiritual superiors? And yet, since I am the adult, the authority figure and they are the children it is hard to imagine them as superiors. Do I truly value this time I spend with these little people who will be with me for such a short time, or do I rush through each day missing the moments that I should treasure as the people in the Metro.
Then I expanded my thoughts to the people of my life. Remember the movie "It's a Wonderful Life" with Jimmy Stewart? I watch it every Christmas and it reminds me of the powerful impact we make on one another's lives...and most of the time without realizing it. I read this article and wondered once again about the people in my life, do I appreciate them as I should? Or do I chose to spend my time with strangers via TV, movies, Internet. . .
I wondered if sometimes we are the "violinist" and do not see our own potential, value and beauty in the world. Is OUR value any less simply because the people around us are sometimes too busy to notice?
Ha, maybe I should remember this next time I am dismayed that my blog does not have more readers!
What things or people in your life are you missing?